The Differences Between a Nationwide Criminal Database and a County Criminal Court Search

One of the most essential aspects of a pre-employment background check is identifying criminal offenses. Applicants may be reluctant to admit to warrants, misdemeanors, felonies or other charges on their personal record. A thorough screening uncovers everything prospective employers need to know before they commit to a hiring decision.

Both the Nationwide Criminal Database and County Criminal Court Searches are used to look for criminal offenses by a specific individual. The primary difference is that a Nationwide Criminal Database seeks out criminal records filed almost anywhere in the country, and a hand search focuses on records filed within a single district. They are best used together to help hiring managers expose and learn more about illegal activities committed by potential employees.

Nationwide Criminal Database
This service consists of an automated search for criminal records connected to any person. Multiple databases are accessed during a national search. These databases contain records filed by county and state sources. The end result is a report that can inform employers of whether or not an individual has a criminal record anywhere in the United States.

An Instant National Criminal Search may find information about traffic violations, incarcerations, misdemeanors, felonies and sexual offenses. This information is commonly used to help businesses determine whether or not a candidate is eligible for employment.

Of note, is that there is no legal authority which forces counties to report their criminal records histories to a database. Therefore, one might find counties that are slow in reporting, or counties that don’t report records at all. For this reason, it is imperative that the Nationwide Criminal Database be run in conjunction with a County Criminal Court Search. In addition, The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) dictates that any records found in the course of a database search must be verified at the court level, which is done by running the County Criminal Court Search.

County Criminal Court Search
This service is a detailed search for criminal records within a particular county. The search is conducted by court reporters who manually review court and county records throughout typically at the county seat. The researchers may be able to find information about an offense that was not discovered during a search of the Nationwide Criminal Database or obtain more details about an offense that was found. In some cases, county offices do not submit their records to national databases. A hand search will find records that may not be available elsewhere.

Hand searches may expose convictions, sexual offenses, misdemeanors, felonies and related activities connected to an individual. Hiring managers use this service to obtain detailed reports on job applicants, and to learn more about an offense committed in any county. A County Criminal Court Search is one of the most accurate screening tools available for a pre-employment background check.

How The Searches Are Used Together
The National Criminal Database and County Criminal Court searches are best used together to produce extensive documentation of an applicant’s criminal activity. The process usually begins with the Nationwide Criminal Database. While this service provides a thorough overview of an individual’s criminal activities, it is not as comprehensive as a hand search.

When a criminal record is found during a database search, or if there is concern that a candidate may have offenses in a county that does not submit information to national databases, the next step is a hand search. Researchers may be able to provide records that are not otherwise available, or a more detailed explanation of a criminal offense. Employers use both services to make informed decisions about potential employees.

At A Glance
Want a quick explanation of the distinction between Nationwide Criminal Database and a County Criminal Court Searches? Use this guide to determine the differences between the two services:


To electronically search through several databases and find criminal records from most states.

• Fast results
• Automated search
• Economical reports
• Finds offenses committed anywhere in the U.S.

Results May Include
• Traffic violations
• Misdemeanors
• Felonies
• Sexual offenses


To have court researches personally search for and examine relevant criminal records within a specified county.

• Comprehensive reports
• Search conducted by Court Researchers
• This service may find records that are not available from a national criminal search

Results May Include
• Misdemeanors
• Felonies
• Incarcerations
• Sexual Offenses

The National Criminal Database and County Criminal Court searches are valuable background screening tools. If you’re looking for criminal records connected to a job applicant, use both the National Criminal Database and County Criminal Court searches to get comprehensive, accurate criminal history on your applicants.

White Collar Criminality and Upper Class Rationality

The pervasive existence of upscale criminal behavior throughout U.S. society reaches from the boardroom to the courtroom. Such perversity does not stop at the steps to the state capital just because a hallowed quotation hangs over the portico. In addition, regardless of an “infotainment” culture’s fixation on street crimes, the devastating impact of “white collar” corruption deteriorates the very core of the American political and economic system. While violent crimes are serious, the institutional destructiveness in corruptive collusions remains callously counterproductive in extraordinary ways. It threatens the demise of the republic and hastens human regression toward eventual extinction.

With an amative sense of entitlement for what they “deserve”, the criminality is one of easy rationalization, for the sake of self-gratification. For the public, as in mainstream media, the fascination with news reports of horrific crimes, such as murder, rape and robbery, distracts from the necessity of attentive mindfulness for the serious nature of corporate and political criminality. Arrogance in selfishness for personal pleasure in the satiation of advantage over others is not a new phenomenon. American history is filled with myriad examples of the salaciousness by which some people use their socio-economic position to exploit, oppress and manipulate others.

Upper class, upper world or upscale criminal behaviors, whatever descriptor you choose, reflect premeditated intentional purposes to perpetrate “antisocial” unlawful behaviors on the majority. As in all criminal behavior, the criminal thinking processes are the result of freely chosen actions that bring harm to others for personal gain. By private desire, individual proclivity, targets of opportunity and skilled ability, higher social realms of criminality inflict grievous harms upon society.

Where a small disproportionate number of powerful, socially well-established and influential people control a majority of earthly resources, there are plenty of opportunities for illegality. Such is an age-old saga of humankind upon the planet. As one percent controls over half the earth’s resources, with access to trillions of dollars of wealth, one might quickly query the nature of economic disparity. For all the religious ideologies proselytizing sharing, caring, giving and receiving, you might ponder the debauchery of the dogmatic hypocrisy. For the scales of justice, where is the slant?

In terms of societal costs, data is frequently difficult to summarize relative to non-street level criminality. For the corporate and political criminal, the amount of social damage they inflict is a cultural cost figure that is not an exact measurement. Some thirty years ago, one calculation by a national business organization put the cost factors in the range of $40 to $50 billion annually. Dollar losses to the American taxpayer by comparison to street crimes, today “white collar” crime is likely a 100 times greater. Major offences include crimes such as bribery, fraud, kickbacks, and securities violations and assorted other related criminalities, with the costs that are much higher.

Currently some research sources suggest the estimated costs to be in excess of $400 billion to nearly $1.5 to $2 trillion. Those are probabilities based a range of criminal incidents. These include techno crimes, corporate spying, employee theft, counterfeiting of all kinds, telecom fraud, credit card fraud, money laundering, insurance swindles, and various illicit marketing schemes. However, that information may not account for the total damage and losses instigated via the internet, identity theft, computer hacking, etc. Fraudulent consumer schemes are the tip of the proverbial human “iceberg” of criminal perpetration. In endless ways, people exploit each other by horrific means.

By similar frame of reference, the aforementioned crimes illustrate some of examples of the corporate and institutional aspects of non-traditional criminalities. Such are by no means the limits to which greedy, arrogant and self-righteous criminals go to ensure their own personal gains. Of course, there are further incident types that can be more invasive and deadly. Unsafe products for instance, recalls, injuries and deaths, could potentially add several billions in costs to the losses inflicted upon others. In addition, there is still more in terms of organized crime, terroristic and cultic collusions, human trafficking, religious frauds and schemes. Do not forget environmental crimes as well.

By ruthless and predatory practices, purposeful and deceptively premeditated, con artists inflict their illicit schemes across a diverse opportunistic spectrum. From the misfortunes of climatic catastrophe, to war profiteering, criminals exploit every opportunity throughout the social culture. Herein, let us use “white collar” crime as a catchall term for the illicit activities of individuals and organizations. Some might suggest a distinction between what constitutes “corporate crime” versus “white collar” criminality, but for purposes here, we will blur any such variations.

Illegalities directed against others, whether by one or more persons, in or by a particular organization, or institution, by malevolent means of position, power and influence, etc., gain is maximized regardless of harm, constitutes so-called “white collar” crimes. These cunningly premeditated malicious actions are not within the usual conception of traditional crimes, like murder, rape and robbery. Regardless though, the effects on other people are just as dangerous and socially regressive.

Whether upscale or lower scale, the criminal’s purposes remain the same. Criminal causality surfaces from the deepest realms of selfishness within the individual. On a prurient level of self-gratification, it is about them, getting what they want, and taking shortcuts to get it. Crimes perpetrated are for the material and mental benefit of the lawless person or persons. Collectively, his or her conspiratorial aims may involve collaborators in a larger scheme to defraud community processes.

There are no excuses, fabricated alibis or scapegoating mitigations, for the illicit degradations committed that harm other people. As mentioned at the outset, “upscale” means political, social and economic placement at a higher level than the “average” person in society has access. It is used here to refer to those who have an unequal advantage over others by political “inheritance”, patronage, economic ascendency, or social class status. Some use descriptive terms as an “oligarchy of the wealthy”, the American “political nobility”, or the “new elites”, which encourages a sense of entitlement. Of which, some will use to their greater enrichment.

With an accepted sense of socio-political “inheritance”, or favored economic advantage, the divide between rich and poor devolves into greater divisiveness. Within the particular position of advantage, the criminal makes his or her choices as to the malevolent proclivities he or she will inflict. Suffice it to say, non-traditional criminality has enormous costs associated with the commission of each violation. In similar ways to traditional street crimes, white-collar crime can be viewed as potentially violent. Some have characterized this to “delayed violence” in varying degrees.

Postponed inflictions of deadly results upon others might come in the form of environmental pollution, or contaminated food products, as well as unsafe consumer products. Hazardous materials dumped in waterways, or drugs with dangerous side effects are but a few of the possible consequences inflected for personal gain.

Bogus, counterfeit and deceptive practices, prognoses and predictions quicken the pace by which a culture eventually destroys itself. Yet, one might ask or perhaps investigate the query, as to the nature of widespread ignorance in the acceptance of anything less than honorably good intentioned interactions. Nonetheless, vast arrays of excuses conspire continuously to foolishly explain away the destructiveness of pernicious self-indulgence, corruption and sordid exploitations.

Again, and exceptionally pervasive, according to one source at the federal level, white criminals cost us losses in the trillion dollar range. At yet, our fixation focuses primarily on street, as opposed to the executive suite. From mass media deceptions and outright fraudulent reporting, to congregational manipulation of “faith healing” swindlers, the diversity of corruption wears many faces. While backgrounds may differ among “white collar” criminals and their street level counterpart, they are thugs applying purposeful skills in different settings. They share a “seduction” in the excitement of violating something that belongs to someone for selfish satiation.

In amative self-indulgence for the excitation for the primal thrill, the criminal, at any level of social strata, relishes in the whole experience of his or her chosen criminality. They know exactly what they are doing, what they want, whom they are going to do it to, and how they are going to get it. Education, background, experience and selection of criminality interact within the particularity of the individual’s skill set. Feeling entitled, unique, special and above the law, they freely choose their courses of action. Arrogant and self-assured, one criminal uses a gun, the other a computer.

For the enrichment of their position, power, control and gross sense of materialism, the criminal overcomes any concern about the consequences the harm they cause. He or she is all about self-interests, immediate gratifications and the foolishness of simplistic thinking. With that though, it should be pointed out that anyone is capable of the most heinous kinds of behaviors. Horrible degradations and murderous oppression have and continue to be carried out against other human beings.

From cultic exclusivity and corporate complicity, to organized crime tyranny and terroristic religiosity, beliefs systems are rationalized to excuse horrible debaucheries of human civilization. Deceptions abound in myriad fallacies of inferential perpetration for hasty generalizations that scheme an illicit gambit of social deterioration.

Nevertheless, for the heroic few, those who endeavor to change themselves over time, without fixation on the materiality of primal satiation, are those who more clearly see the illusions of the malevolence. By the virtue of wise ethical precepts in liberated individuality, with insistence upon enlightened transformation, purposeful from inner depths of maturation and willful selfless perseverance, become more evolved than the rest. Some see the folly of the gluttonous self-indulgence in selfish gratification.

Regardless, along the vast reaches of the social spectrum, among various levels of elitism, there are the devolving perpetrators of societal degradation. Competition colludes in varying degrees, whereby the accumulation of fame, fortune and fiction, transgresses against the good intentions of others. Within those regressive ranks of exploitation of deceitful opportunists, the oligarchs of wealth will use any means to tyrannize others for continued enrichment. In the upper tiers, who is punished for their crimes?

So-called “white collar” criminality spans many areas of communal interactions, as well as societal institutions, and encompasses a range of unethical and unlawful behaviors. The looting of the taxpayer at all levels of government, to ensure non-failure of corporate criminals, absent sure and swift prosecution, aids and abets the devolution of the human species. Never mind what some politicians pontificate about “work harder”, “get better educated”, to encourage success and consume more.

Consider that living among us, the best educated, most successful, richest, powerful and very influential, perpetrate the most heinous financial crimes imaginable. Not unlike the affinity for illicit hedonistic proclivities of their street level counterparts, the upper class criminal remains just as arrogant, self-indulgent and ruthlessly selfish. Egoistic in every calculating and deceptive way, the “chair-borne” criminal sees easy rationalization in over-simplifying his or her crimes. Abuse of others is amatively exciting.

At the same time, they enjoy the enrichment, the psychological gain, and naturally the profit from the suffering others. However, for the vast majority of people, wishful thinking pursues the illusion that everyone is “basically good”, and there’s always an “excuse” for the intentional victimization of others. Regardless, debasing poverty pervades a world civilization that should have ascended ages ago. Factions, states and religions war as they always have centuries long past. Exploitation and waste of the earth’s natural resources continues as though it’s business as usual.

At the expense of the majority of planetary inhabitants, the elite few are facilitate a “culture” of entitled exceptionality. By corporate and government collusions, maintained by collaborative socio-political and economic connections, a handful of the most affluent people control a majority of the planet’s wealth. In so doing, some of them contrive adversely to render others exploitable, consumable and expendable. Over time, as though a kind of “wealthy aristocracy”, they ensure their insulation, aloof status and protected elite status. Such corrupt potentialities exist in every aspect of society.

Large or small, climbing or already at the top of their particular sphere, the criminal will persist in debasing the infrastructure of society to every extent possible. They will use every ruse anyone chooses to believe, with ready accomplices everywhere. One such successful mega sphere of adverse influence, and accessory to untenable excuses, to aid and abet the criminal, is the vast interwoven collaborations of the “psycho-medical-pharmaceutical industrial complex”. From psychologist to psychiatrist, to medical “treatment” and psychotropic cure-all medication, any excuse for a price can be easily conjured. Alibis for criminality come in all kinds of prevarications.

With little or no regard for others, the cultic conspirator, the gangland mobster, the terroristic ideologue, the self-help guru, as well as the upper class monopolist, all fit within the willful deviance of hedonistic gain. They share kinship with their street level criminal counterparts. Controlling and otherwise diminishing any semblance of empathy for others, for the satiation of egoistic centeredness, and to facilitate primal urges, the con artist smugly revels in his or her “dog eat dog” purposefulness.

Make no mistake contrary to popular depiction the so-called “psychopath” is not that different from the neighbor next door. Deception is the game and personal gain is their fame. Everyone develops some capacity for deceiving another person. We all do it in different ways given particular circumstances, based on personal belief systems, and contingent on goal orientation. For one who chooses to cross the line of civility, he or she is selfish and expects to get his or her way no matter what it takes.

The criminal will endeavor find a shortcut around responsibility and subsequent accountability. To think otherwise, not only deceives oneself in willful naiveté, but also gives the criminal an escape mechanism to avoid sanctions. Typically, excuses usually come in the form of explaining away criminality by blaming others or the environment.

Criminality is at the very core of selfish thinking on the part of everyone. Each person is a variation on theme of deception, dishonesty and devolution, as all perpetrate their biases and prejudicial behaviors in one fashion or another. In cross-cultural mix of conflict and consensus, gain seeks the advantage over another. While various actions of one sort or another may not be explicitly illegal, ethical issues arise to the morality of an array of interactions. Small-scale deceit on the part of some may by contrast become a large-scale economic meltdown on the part of others.

A particular statute, or set of rule requirements, guidelines etc., might not detail specific violations. Nevertheless, at the end of day what are the behavioral indications where one chooses to do certain acts that could bring harm to others? As suggested earlier, the permeation infiltrates every aspect of society. Yet, certain schools of thought have become so easily believed in American society, that we explain away everything. In the “psycho-medical-pharmaceutical industrial complex”, (aka “P+M+P = pimp”), we can quickly render a “diagnosis”, come up with an excuse, and rationalize simplistic justification. The infotainment industry is good at finding “alibis”.

Meanwhile, the cost of so-called “white collar” criminality is astronomical in comparison to “street crimes”. Where does communal consensus focus the most? Or, where do the halls of academia assert the outcry of a “redress of grievances”? Typically, we move along the linear superficiality of easy conjecture. What is trending? What are politicians regurgitating? What is the latest poll say about what people generally know little about in the first place? We fixate on misperceptions about the greater evil.

Corruption at all levels, including grotesquely incessant advertising for exploitive consumption and specious unscientific speculations about nearly everything reflect a devolving society. Stupidity ponders its ignorance and scoffs at disbelief in the smug arrogance of disingenuous over-simplifications and erroneous rationalizations.

On the campaign trail, political candidates, backed by an array of corporate sponsors and special interests, assert meaningless slogans, feel good hollowness and empty platitudes. Frequently, their unsubstantiated claims and shallow actions pass without retribution. In the resonance of power, status and collusive influence, legality tends to favor the few. Absent the clamor of demand for forthright accountability, we excuse white-collar criminality in the subterfuge of upper class rationality.

Cultural Rationality in Criminal Choice

The Criminal Statistics, England and Wales indicate that the majority of offenders are male and juvenile. Main-stream criminology has focused on male crime and has marginalised the existence of a ‘gender offender ratio’. To understand this phenomenon, the rationality of criminal decision making in female and male school children was examined at the peak age of female offending. The research programme involved examining the Criminal Statistics, England and Wales (1995); a self completion questionnaire survey and a semi-structured interview conducted in schools within a London Borough. Their criminal choices have been studied to see if they include consideration of a victim or the harm caused by an offence. The research has been grounded in Rational Choice Theory of Clarke (1987) which puts forward a vision of the criminal act in terms of its bounded rationality, ease and profit. This research will adopt the legal presumption that everyone understands the meaning of offences within the Theft Act 1968 and the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.

Applicable Theory

Situational crime prevention best fits the choices made by the economic offender but would the inclusion of consideration of harm to a person who is the victim of the intended offence explain the difference in female and male offending? Given that current research indicates that potential offenders may be exercising choices, what theory could be used to investigate these phenomena? The Rational Choice Theory of Clarke (1987:118) argues that however hasty or ill-considered, crime is the outcome of an offenders’ choices. It would be interesting to put questions to both male and females to examine their decision making proximate to offending and compare the responses they gave to the different criteria. The research would hope to explain the disparity in female and male offending by consideration of the Rational Choice Theory of Clarke (1987). This theory seems best equipped to explain property crime but not assaults. The potential offender may be making choices on the basis of a bounded rationality that is a combination of the prospect of being caught and the situations’ economics. It may be possible to explain the gender offending ratio by including the element of harm caused by the intended offence or indeed through introducing cultural constraints.

Matza and Sykes (1957) thought factors like kinship, friendship, ethnic group, social class, age and sex appeared to restrict the number of victims that could be targeted. They proposed that the juvenile acquires techniques that neutralise the violations and make them acceptable within the delinquent subculture without replacing the values of the dominant normative system. The techniques of neutralisation begin with ‘The denial of responsibility’ where the juvenile affirms, ‘I did not mean it’. Another technique is ‘The denial of injury’ when the juvenile will state, ‘I didn’t really hurt anybody’. In the third technique ‘The denial of a victim’, the existence of a victim is denied by the juvenile stating, ‘They had it coming to them’. This technique may be especially effective in property crime where no owner is present. The fourth technique is ‘The condemnation of the condemners’. The juvenile calls the condemners hypocrites by alleging favouritism or vindictiveness when it is stated, ‘Everybody’s picking on me’. Lastly, the fifth technique is ‘The appeal to higher loyalties’ where the juvenile declares loyalty to gang, sibling or friends by stating, ‘I didn’t do it for myself’. Sykes and Matza counseled more research into the differential distribution of the techniques by thought, age, sex, social group and ethnic origin. One possible explanation of the lower rates of female offending might be that the techniques ‘The denial of injury and The denial of a victim’ are not strong enough in females to neutralise the moral bind to dominant normative values.

The Rational Choice Theory of Clarke (1987:118) argues offenders choices determine crime even if those choices are hasty or ill-considered. Questions could be put to both males and females to examine decision making and compare their responses to the different criteria. There is an argument that females are more likely to commit offences if a victim cannot be identified and they are less likely to do so if a victim can be identified. It may be that women have a stronger perception of harm being caused to the victim and this empathy prevents the commission of predatory offences. Understanding whether choices to commit property crime or violence against the person by the potential male and female offender are influenced by the strength of the image of harm and a person as a victim at the time may suggest crime prevention measures. Any factors that were found to be effective could be employed at a potential crime scene or in educational programmes.

Is the moral bind that is described in Matza and Sykes (1957) being applied differentially between the gender? The responses of the male and female to these factors could be compared. The Theory of Cultural Complexity of Thompson, Ellis and Wildavsky (1990) set out four ways of life which are the result of the relative strength of a group’s pattern of social relations and a definitive set of shared values, practices and beliefs. These ways of life are termed individualist, fatalist, egalitarian and heirarchist. A member of each way of life will have a predetermined perception of risk that will determine whether it is accepted or avoided. Male and female offending might be re-interpreted as a consequence of the cultural rationality and justification of the risks of offending by the actors and not merely the situations economics or moral prohibition.

The hypotheses to be tested

Considering the above a number of hypotheses relating to juveniles can be formulated, in the case of the property crime and violence against the person:

1) Females cannot easily justify making the decision to commit an offence when harm is caused by that offence?

2) Females cannot easily justify making the decision to commit an offence when that offence involves the presence of a person who can be identified as a victim.

3) Female decision making takes more account of the risks of committing an offence than their male counterparts.

4) Female and male criminal decision making is influenced by a cultural rationality that is based on the risks of offending communicated to them by various sources.

A further consideration was the peak rate of offending for females was 14 to 15 years of age according to the Criminal Statistics (1995). This is a formative age when juveniles are crucially about to enter the final year of compulsory education before they leave school and make decisions about their future. Juvenile offending accounts for a significant proportion of all crime committed and any findings with crime prevention potential might achieve significant crime reduction.

The Study

Permission was obtained from London Borough Council to carry out the survey within three schools in the Borough. Each had the merit of representing a different type of educational establishment; a Grant Maintained school; a State funded school and a Technology College. The research programme consisted of a self completion questionnaire survey and a semi-structured interview conducted in schools within a London Borough.

The summary of the findings

For the findings to be valid each different method should ideally demonstrate consistency and reliability with the other. Respondents were told orally to omit answers to any questions if they felt they could not be accurate. The fact that this happened may be supported by periods of silence in the group interviews and by no response to large numbers of questions on the questionnaire by some respondents. The different methods revealed about sixteen points of similarity where findings were found to reliable and consistent. It would not be unreasonable to infer that the study is valid. The study was not disadvantaged by the fact that not all the results could be explained.

Qualifying features

The Criminal Statistics (1995) are based on recorded crime generated by the Criminal Justice System and the figures may be challenged because of the levels of unreported crime. This limited the corroboration possible between the two documents. The results of this study must be tempered by the fact that only a small sample of juveniles were surveyed.

The gender offender ratio

The secondary analysis in chapter five of the Criminal Statistics, England and Wales (1995) makes out a strong overall case for the existence of a ‘gender offender ratio’. The statistics show that female offending is generally three to four times lower than corresponding male offending. The statistical data also demonstrates the case for bias in the Criminal Justice System is weak. This research also supports the existence of a ‘gender offender ratio’ by virtue of the low number of females that stated they had committed crime in comparison to the male respondents. The females did not disclose that they had committed any of the predatory offences of burglary and robbery. Apart from the lower than expected levels of female juvenile convictions recorded in the Criminal Statistics, England and Wales 1995, these relative levels of offending cannot be explained away by the potential processing bias of a police officer’s discretion; police station cautioning or convictions in the Criminal Justice System. The females reticence to admit to committing crime and the males forthrightness about the same issues does indicate a gender role.

Female juvenile offending

In the survey, female juveniles were encouraged to offend by the desire for goods displayed in shops. Fashion is a value of female sexuality. Stealing clothes from shops may be more acceptable to females because it conforms with their idea of femininity. Television chat shows and news programs were said by them to motivate offending because they portrayed people that had successfully committed crime. The females watched a television presenter called Oprah Winfrey who regularly appraises social issues in her program. The sole case where females stated they would be violent was when they would take revenge on someone who hurt them. The female has a well defined sexual role in society and this violent reaction to hurtful behaviour might have its origins in the strong emotions arising from the unfaithfullness of a sexual partner. Additionally, the females believed that the state of being homeless and destitute might also give rise to criminality. They could be sympathetic with social reasons for offending. The females also seemed to think more about the social use of an article rather than whether it was at risk of being stolen. Females were strongly demotivated from offending by thinking about the police who are symbolic of the social values of law and order. To achieve the maternal goals of a mothers reassurance and protection at home, females would have a need to participate in an orderly society. They would be naturally more receptive to the messages of conformity represented by the symbols of society’s security.

When the actual crime was about to be committed females said that if the victim of the intended crime was a corporation they were encouraged to complete the offence. This might be because no person would be harmed and females had already stated that a victim of theft loses nothing if they are insured. The females said that alcohol and drugs weakened their sense of right and wrong resulting in a loss of self control that encouraged offending. Furthermore, a female stated that if she did not realise that her behaviour was criminally wrong she would not think that behaviour was risky. It appears that the immorality of what she was doing had not been effectively communicated to her. The females indicated quite strongly that once they knew something was wrong their moral values would stop them offending. This strong sense of moral value might have origins in the females sexual role where they raise children. To do this successfully, the female would have to instill the value of right and wrong in her children.

A large range of factors discouraged females from offending. The females said they would stop offending if they were watched by a stranger when they were stealing because they would feel guilty. Apparently, being thought of as a criminal could not be reconciled with their self image. The females affirmed that they could empathise with a person who is an intended victim of a crime. The ability to feel hurt and upset would stop them offending and is indicative of feminine gentleness. Moreover, females were again sensitive to the crime prevention symbolism of the police; court penalties; security guards; close circuit television and anti-theft alarms. These symbols increase the risks to a point that they would be deterred from offending. Furthermore, females said that cultural factors were important in lowering offending levels. In particular, family culture was stated to decrease the risks of offending. The females maternal instincts may require the adherence to family values.

A big factor in preventing females from re-offending was the distress and guilt that they imagined their mother would experience when they found out that their daughter was a criminal. A mother’s hurt and upset was stated to be a significant risk of offending again. The disclosure of criminality does not sit easily with family values or the image of being ladylike. The distress caused to the female’s mother also does not live up to the feminine value of caring for others. The females additionally said their friends would not approve of computer chip theft; burglary or robbery. These predatory crimes are not compatible with the females gentle and caring image. Their friends would try to dissuade them from this type of crime but might encourage stealing from shops. This last crime best fits the gender role. The female’s friends might even have a leader who could help to ensure that major crime was not committed by the group. Friends would appoint a leader if they were skillful at stealing goods for the group.

The females were capable of using a number of different excuses to justify petty offending to a friend. The justification of crime actually encourages its commission. Offending could be represented by females as an accident without any sense of responsibility. Females would also excuse an offence by stating that everybody did it. In other words, why victimise them for behaviour that is common place. Furthermore, the females could deny that there was a victim of an offence and believe that no real harm had been done by them. This last excuse would most readily fit in with feminine values. The females displayed two conflicting approaches to risky criminal situations. They would be both optimistic and uncertain about the level of risk in a crime situation. This might reveal that females are not single minded but flexible about the interpretation of the risk in the situation.

Male juvenile offending

In contrast to the females, the male juveniles were motivated by thrill seeking. This was stated with regard to beating people up but it was also mentioned in connection with a feeling of boredom. This thrill seeking is indicative of the masculine values of boldness and aggression. The juvenile males might be experiencing the frustration at not being able to demonstrate male bravery and competitiveness within normative society. To find a way of expressing these urges, males might be redirecting them into offending. This competitive nature; the resolution to succeed and disregard for most victims of crime, may be the reason that males were prepared to commit the more serious offences like burglary and sell the spoils to raise money. The males said they learned the detail of committing crime and its risks by watching television police programs like ‘The Bill’. The males said that seeing something on the screen made them want to copy it and this was apparent when one stated that violent films made him feel it was justified to use violence to escape capture. The media appeared to motivate the males, especially when males were portrayed as following the gender role of being bold; brave; powerful and aggressive. The male is biologically built more powerfully than the female and is better protected against the damage that might be sustained in the hunt for prey (Morris 1978). This might make them less aware of the physical risks in a criminal situation and explain why males wanted more information about the risks of offending.

Apart from the chance of being caught the single factor that would discourage the males from committing an offence was if the intended victim was an elderly lady. This scenario caused threats and protestations from the males towards any friend that might transgress against the value of male protection that an elderly lady should receive. Some said they would consider handing an offender over to the police. The fact that they were prepared to break an unwritten code and inform on someone to the police indicates how powerful the gender role can be. Moreover, the males said they would use violence to avoid being caught committing an offence. This also follows a gender role of being resolute and competitive. Covert cameras appeared to worry the males because they believed that even after offending they were still not safe from being caught. To confirm this fear of being secretly observed the males said that store detectives were a strong deterrent to them committing crime.

One male stated that he was under duress to continue to commit crime from adult criminals who run his housing estate. This was a situation that was unique to the males. He stated that he would be beaten up if he did not steal to order. His predicament is also indicative of the masculine value of dominating people. The probability of receiving a custodial sentence for an offence would stop the males from committing that offence again. They said that this would not preclude committing another offence because they appeared to believe that only committing the same offence again would count towards a custodial sentence. The reason the males feared its implementation might possibly be that the loss of liberty might curtail them from demonstrating their masculinity. The males said that a big risk of offending was the worry about their mother’s anger as a reaction to their offending. The males said this might stop them re-offending. They seemed to have to transfer the masculine value of anger to their mother to be better able to understand the situation. Perhaps, they might have reasoned that their mother had the power to prematurely exclude them from the protection of the home environment.

The males could only feel guilt about committing crime with some difficulty but if they did, it would stop them committing the type of crime they felt guilty about. It appeared that once males had decided to commit an offence, there were few limits on how far they will go. The moral values of the males appeared to be was subordinate to their masculinity. Males affirmed that they would point out the risks of committing crime to a friend but then the friend would be left to accept responsibility for what they had decided. The males did not use any form of justification that was unique to their gender.

Juvenile offending generally

Both genders were motivated by the desire to have money to buy goods. The females wanted clothes while the males said they needed trainers. The juveniles stated that they learned about the risks and rewards of offending from their friends. This was by gossiping with them or listening to them relate accounts of how others had been dealt with by the Criminal Justice System. Moreover, because very few had been caught offending, they had no first hand experience of the Criminal Justice System. They would have to be rely upon their friends information as being accurate. The genders both felt a pressure to be accepted; popular and admired by their friends. Another source of information for them was television and films. All gave evidence of the media influencing them. The method of committing crime would be watched by the juveniles to see if it was unsuccessful and then improvements figured out to improve the chances of success. Films with violence and drugs made at least one male believe violence was acceptable. However, when the juveniles were asked to state its effect on themselves, they said it had no affect. The significance of this fact is that apparently, they did not realise the influence that the media had on them.

All would physically help and support each other to facilitate offending. The females and males might be displaying a form of altruistic behaviour where they take a risk themselves to steal something that will give their friends what they want. In all three stages of committing crime both genders agreed that the biggest risk of offending was the likelihood of being caught. This risk discouraged the capacity to offend; the act of offending and re-offending. Imprisonment was stated to be a deterrent by females and males although the males seemed to have to believe it was more immediate than the females. Both genders also said that they were subject to peer pressure through all the stages of offending. The females and males said that a sense of right and wrong was necessary to discourage offending. In the females these moral value appeared heightened and complimentary to their idea of being feminine while males appeared to be able to overlay their masculinity on top of any moral values. All juveniles were discouraged from offending by a number of crime prevention symbols. These were police patrols; newspapers; books; magazines; sport; guard dogs; park keepers; high fence; shutters; locks; alarms and close circuit television. Both genders stated that the culture in their neighbourhood and community could discourage offending.

Females and males could justify offending by stating that they were loyal to their friends and denying that there was any victim of the offence. Both genders said they were in control but accepted they could do nothing about the risk of being caught. The males were definite about their perception of risk in the criminal situation which was very much in line with their masculine values. The females seemed to display more feminine reticence and adopted all four cultural perceptions of risk.

Both genders appeared to display the same rationality about committing crime. The females calculated the ease, opportunity, risk and reward in travelling on the train compared with the bus before deciding that the train fare was the better one to avoid paying. The calculation was not carried out with any precision but the likelihood of being caught did feature prominently in the reasoning. Similarly, the reasoning about being caught was extended to choice of the places to do graffiti. The males showed the same short cut appraisal of the criminal situation in committing thefts and burglaries and the risk of being caught was again a significant component of the calculation. The females and males could both analyse the method of committing crime portrayed in the media and suggest improvements. Both genders agreed that they had the choice to offend. Only the females were prepared to accept that others might find homelessness and destitution a good reason to offend. Although it could be argued that they could still choose to accept social security benefits. Even the male who was under duress to offend did have the choice to report the matter to the police. All appeared to employ the same type of heuristic to decide whether to commit crime or not. The major difference appeared to be what type of crime best fitted into masculine or feminine culture.


It is probably better that the first two hypotheses are considered together because of their similarity. These are that females cannot easily justify making the decision to commit an offence when harm is caused by that offence or a person who is the intended victim is present. The females in this survey stated they to have to employ all of the techniques of neutralisation of Matza and Sykes (1957) to enable them to commit petty offences: ‘The denial of responsibility, injury and victim; the condemnation of the condemners and the appeal to higher loyalties’. In contrast the males stated they used ‘The denial of injury and the appeal to higher loyalties’. There is evidence female juveniles find it more acceptable to offend where no human harm is caused to a person. They will approve of stealing from a corporations rather than a person and very few will commit predatory crime like robbery. The explanation for the differential application of the techniques of neutralisation is problematic and could be the subject of further research.

The third hypothesis is that female decision making takes more account of the risks of committing an offence than their male counterparts. In the survey there is evidence that shows female juveniles are more deterred by the symbols of society’s security in comparison to male juveniles. However, the apparent sensitivity of female juveniles to this symbolism is not necessarily due to them focusing on personal risk and the situation’s economics but their gender role.

Lastly, the hypothesis that female and male criminal decision making is influenced by a cultural rationality based on the risks of offending communicated to them by various sources has some foundation. The communication of the risks of offending, although they might reinforce the value system, have an impact that appears to be subordinate to the cultural values of femininity and masculinity.

Cultural risk rationality

It is suggested that a cultural risk rationality is operating in juvenile criminal choice. Morris (1978: 230) argues that Society imposes gender signals on females and males long before they reach puberty. In this presexual period Morris (1978) believes that children are given strongly defined sexual roles because boys will be given different clothes, hairstyles, toys, ornaments, pastimes and sports to girls. He argues that this process gives girls and boys strong gender identity of being socially feminine and masculine respectively.

This study has produced evidence of male and female juvenile offenders apparently having two different value systems. Both genders seem to use the same limited rationality but from within a different ‘world view’ of criminality that is reinforced by Society and their friends.The different values seem to be grounded in femininity and masculinity. The feminine values are of submissiveness, reticence; gentleness; sexuality; fashionability and ladylikeness. In comparison, masculine values are those of dominance; bravado; aggressiveness; competitiveness; bravery; powerfulness and resolution. The two different sets of values and beliefs are bound together by the altruistic practices that may be found in peer pressure.

The reason that females commit a far lesser proportion of overall crime and much lower levels of predatory offences than males is that in general, crime does not conform with their feminine self image. When a predatory offence like robbery or burglary is contemplated the females are simply saying ‘We don’t do that’. The male juveniles masculine values do not limit the choice of crime in the same way. Once they were motivated there would be few constraints. Juveniles might simply be severing the links with the culture of their peers as they grow into adulthood rather than re-establishing the normative values. It is proposed that to add cultural rationality to Rational Choice Theory (1987) would explain the different levels of offending and seriousness of offending between the female and male juveniles.

Crime prevention measures

Both genders seemed to obtain information about offending from the media and their friends. More control over the representation of criminal behaviour might deter crime. State intervention in juvenile culture through a life science course taught in the schools might bring more objectivity and morality into a juvenile’s decision making. Limiting juvenile’s access to alcohol by may help them to maintain self control.

Only a small number of offenders had been caught indicates a need for more surveillance. More security and police patrols could be deployed but juvenile offenders seemed particularly worried by covert surveillance cameras. Mobile covert cameras could be deployed at crime ‘hot spots’ to arrest criminals and strengthen the deterrent effect of these devices.

Males could be could be confronted with their guilt by facilitating offender and victim encounters in the Criminal Justice System. Police cautioning in its present form was found in this study to be ineffective. The males said that they would reoffend after a caution but would be displaced to a different crime. The males believed they were more at risk of a custodial sentence if they repeated the same offence after a caution. Moreover, this study demonstrated the small deterrent value of cautioning because of the numbers of undetected juveniles who persistently offend. All the juveniles were worried about their mother’s reaction if they were caught. Cautioning might become effective if the juveniles knew that their mother would also be held accountable by having to pay a fixed penalty for each caution they received.

Criminal Records – Investigating the Process of Running a Criminal Check

How often do you flip the news on, hoping to catch the weather report, only to hear about another story on “real life crime?” It seems that everywhere we look nowadays, from the television to the newspaper to the radio; we are subjected to these tales of horror. Except, unlike an engrossing book we can’t put down, these stories are happening all around us. From world headlines on down to our very own community, we are being victimized by criminals in every way imaginable.

We’ve all been made very aware that we’re living in dangerous times. To suspect the worst out of people until we know better is the norm in our world. Unfortunately, even the most cautious of sorts can be led to being swindled by a scam artist, trusting an unfit nanny to take care of their kids, or even to hiring a dishonest employee. One of the measures that are used to help protect against these types of crimes is a seemingly simple background search focusing on the criminal history of an individual.

There are many reasons why someone would want to run a criminal history on another person; however, they all center around one universal theme – safety. Protecting ourselves, our families, our businesses, and our finances, are our utmost concerns. Whether your company has regularly performed a criminal records search or is just starting this process – whether you’ve personally ever performed such a search before or not; there is specific information you need to know.

So, what is a criminal record and what, exactly, does it contain? In general, a criminal record contains identifying information, history of arrest, history of conviction, incarceration information, and any other possible criminal facts about the individual in question. Anything from minor misdemeanors on up could be found; however, there are a few things to clarify in the explanation of crime records. The breakdown is as follows:

Arrest Records include various law enforcement records of arrests. Even this has a wide meaning – some will only report arrests that led to convictions while others will report any and all arrests.

Criminal Court Records include criminal records from local, state, and federal courts.

Corrections Records include prison records that detail periods of incarceration.

State Criminal Repository Records include statewide records that are a compilation of arrest records, criminal court records, and correction records.

The largest misconception, and many people hold on to this belief, is that the United States has one national database that is a compilation of all criminal records everywhere – from the local level up to the federal level. This, simply, is not true.

The closest thing the U.S. has to a nationwide criminal database is the Interstate Identification Index, or the “Triple-I.”

This compilation is managed through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (the FBI). The Triple-I will include criminal events such as: open arrest warrants, arrests, stolen property, missing persons, and dispositions regarding felonies and serious misdemeanors (which are defined as any crime that could result in one year or more of jail time). There are two things to understand about this database, however.

Only law enforcement personnel and agencies can access the Triple-I database. There is no nationwide criminal database available for the normal layperson.

If a county, city, or state does not report a crime to be entered into this database, it will not be found there. This means that many crimes that did not result in an incarceration in a federal prison will not be found in the Triple-I.

Law enforcement uses the Triple-I for a variety of reasons – from collecting a list of suspects for an unsolved crime to the prosecution of a charged individual. That’s great for them, but where does this leave the average American who needs to conduct a criminal history search? There are a few options – none of them are perfect on their own, but combined can, and will, give a fairly accurate picture of the person you’re investigating – if done properly. So how, or rather where, do you start?

Compile identifying information on the person you’re investigating. You’ll need, at a minimum, their full name, any prior surnames they may have had, and their date of birth. Be 100% positive you have their name spelled correctly. If you only have their name, you’ll have to do a little investigative work to get at least their birth date. Otherwise, you could end up with inaccurate criminal records that may not actually belong to the individual in question.

Ideas for locating additional information:

Talk to neighbors, coworkers, family members, or even past employers of the person in question.

Search online telephone directories as they often have the middle name, or at least the middle initial, noted with the address and phone data.

Utilize other online sources to try to gather identifying information such as their birth date and other names possibly used.

If possible, simply ask the person in question!

Obtain residential information on the person you’re investigating. You’ll need to know where they lived for the prior seven years. The cities and states at the very least, but again, the more complete data you have, the better.

Ideas for locating past addresses:

o Search one of the many free online services, often they’ll pop up every instance of the name that shows up in their database. This means if the person in question has moved around, each address associated with their name is likely to be in the database.

o If you do know the prior cities and states of their residences; you can search through past telephone directories, criss-cross directories (also called city directories and household directories) at the appropriate local libraries – and in some cases – online, for complete addresses of when the individual lived in that area.

o And again, if possible, you can always ask the individual you’re investigating.

Utilize free online sources to locate criminal records. Once you know the identifying information and the jurisdiction of the person you’re investigating, you can find the appropriate county, city, and state sites to access their public records. Realize that each state determines what is considered a “public” record, so you’ll have to brush up on the laws for the locales you’re investigating.

Also, it’s important to realize that a mere 25% to 35% of criminal data is available online, and this includes public data. So, while it’s a great place to start, it cannot be the basis of a complete investigation into your person’s criminal history. Realize, too, that many of the records will be missing key identifying information – such as date of birth, middle names, and/or social security numbers.

Pay for a criminal check to be done by an online investigation company. Most, if not all, online investigative organizations utilize the National Criminal File (NCF) as the database they search. This file is also the database most commonly researched for pre-employment background checks.

As you know by now, this file isn’t actually national; however, most states in the U.S. are included. Realize, however, that nearly all of the information that makes up the NCF comes from correction records only. Therefore, there are lots of possible holes for missing criminal activity – from county criminal records to state repositories. Anything considered a misdemeanor (an offense less serious than a felony) also will likely not be included. This means you could receive a clean report on an individual who, does indeed, have a criminal history.

Another drawback to the National Criminal File is the consistent lack of identifying information, just as with the online public records mentioned above. It is rare to find social security numbers or dates of birth to verify you definitely have the correct criminal history for your individual. The more common the name, the more unlikely it is that you’ll receive data that won’t have to be confirmed.

There are very few names in our country unique enough for this to not be an issue. Remember this, as you will have to dig deeper once you’ve received the report the NCF generated or the data you personally retrieved in your search of public criminal records.

Deeper how? Go to the source of the report. Meaning, you’ll have to consult the original data source the compilation came from. You can request a manual search from a fee-based investigation company, or you can do it yourself. However, it is the only sure way of verifying the information you have is correct. This means you’ll have to search civil records in the correct jurisdictions, and while you can do some of this online – as mentioned above; you may have to request the records in writing or go to the actual county that stores the data.

This is where you’ll be able to use the identifying information you collected. You can compare the date of birth, the social security number, full name, and the complete addresses of the person at this point. By doing this, you can rule out the inherent error probability with a common name.

One last thing to mention. If you uncover information that leads you to not hire the individual in question, you will have to abide by the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act). The FCRA mandates that when you pass someone over due to a criminal history report, it is their right by law to view the report you based your decision on. Make sure you follow this law or it could come back to haunt you in the form of a lawsuit.

Criminal history checks are an important facet in determining if an individual has a history in criminal activities. As with anything, gaining an accurate criminal report is largely dependent on what you put into it. With tenacity in acquiring complete identifying information, performing a fair and legal search, confirming whatever criminal data you do find; you will have an informative and accurate report at the end.

After all, the bottom line is determining that those you are seeking to protect – yourself, your family, your business, are safe from the criminal element.

Henry Lovett writes informational articles about people search, criminal records, background checks and other similar topics. To learn more about criminal records visit []

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The Role of a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Today’s Time

Criminal defense lawyers sometime get a not-so-flattering portrayal because people assume that they defend guilty people. However, if you are a defendant in a criminal proceeding, you need the assistance of a qualified criminal defense lawyer, regardless of your guilt or innocence. As the protectors and advocates of the accused, defense lawyers play a pivotal role in the United States justice system to see that everyone charged with a criminal act has an opportunity to defend themselves.

Defense Lawyers Protect the Rights of the Accused

First and foremost, a criminal defense lawyer’s role is to protect the rights of the accused. Upholding your rights under the Bill of Rights as set forth in the United States Constitution, criminal defense lawyers are bound by law to assist their clients by making sure you are treated fairly by the United States criminal justice system. Specifically, your criminal defense lawyer’s job is to see that you are allowed:

·The right to a trial by a jury of your peers;

·The right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt”;

· The right to a speedy and public trial;

· The right to remain silent;

·The right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures; and

·The right to legal counsel.

All these rights are guaranteed by the United States Constitution and are applicable to all states through the Fourteenth Amendment as well as United States Supreme Court case opinions. As such, a criminal defense lawyer is obligated to provide clients with protection against the overreach of the government in meting out punishment to any individual accused of a criminal offense. An experienced, qualified lawyer accomplishes this by challenging any government or law enforcement conduct that violates the rights of any United States citizen accused of a crime. Should a criminal defense lawyer fail to make reasonable efforts to protect your rights or provide effective assistance, he/she risks losing his/her license to practice law or other penalties (some of which could include jail time).

Criminal Lawyers Defend the Innocent

The second most important role of a criminal defense attorney is to defend the innocent. We see daily about overturned criminal cases where new evidence verifies the incarceration of an innocent person who has served time as a result of an incorrect guilty verdict. And, while for the most part, most clients of criminal defense attorneys are somewhat criminally culpable in the crime they have been charged with, on rare occasions, some of a lawyer’s clients are truly innocent. Though a rare occurrence, innocent people are accused and convicted of criminal offenses.

To combat the prosecution of the wrongly accused, criminal defense lawyers must be diligent in holding prosecutors and police accountable for every stage of their investigation in every case they handle. Thus, defense lawyers must take seriously their role as advocates for the innocent and the not-so-innocent to assure that the guilty don’t escape while the innocent are punished.

Therefore, to accomplish the task of upholding a client’s constitution rights and acting as a watchdog to oversee the conduct of police and prosecutors, a criminal defense lawyer must zealously pursue independent investigations into the crime for which a client has been accused to assure that at trial, that client is either completely exonerated or that there is enough evidence to prove that reasonable doubt exists to warrant his/her client’s release from custody.

And, while for the majority of instances, a person who has reached the point of a jury trial is guilty, defense attorneys are mandated to provide every client an opportunity to a fair trial. Guilty or not, everyone has the constitutional right to have a fair trial. With a strong belief in the adversarial nature of the criminal justice system, reputable criminal defense attorneys recognize the right of every citizen to have representation and sometimes must put aside their emotions to represent those who have committed very serious crimes.

Criminal Defense Lawyers Defend the Guilty

In general guilty clients that criminal defense attorney’ represent fall into two categories:

·Those who deny criminal culpability; and

·Those who take responsibility for their criminal behavior

Most lawyers agree that the most difficult criminal client to represent is one that takes some responsibility for the crime as it is much easier to establish innocence or reasonable doubt when you don’t think your client is guilty. Facing ethical and moral dilemmas daily, a criminal defense lawyer must deal with situations where they have knowingly facilitated the release of a guilty person, risking their reputation and a clear conscience. On the other hand, defense lawyers get a great deal of satisfaction when their representation of an accused individual has a positive impact on society. For instance, when a criminal defense lawyer helps a client avoid more serious legal consequences by intervening in lives to affect positive change (i.e., plea bargains of rehabilitation instead of jail time, community service and probation instead of jail time etc.). As a trusted advocate, criminal defense lawyers have a great deal of influence on their clients’ lives as opposed to a judge, prosecutor or probation officer.

Lawyers are a Necessary Part of the United States Judicial System

Sometimes portrayed as villains who help criminals run free, criminal defense lawyers are necessary for the United States legal system to run smoothly. Without the availability of qualified legal representation for those accused of crimes, the potential for overreach by government would be great. A balanced system where all parties are represented and where one side isn’t given free rein to rule over the other is what our judicial system is all about. And, while every system has its flaws, the United States judicial system is still the best available in the world.